"The sixth release by Ballister, recorded live at the renowned Café Oto in London in March of 2015 finds a well-honed working unit that's settled into the deep groove of their stride on a long tour. Exactly halfway through the journey, on the eve of Rempis’ fortieth birthday, the band bursts out the gate screaming, spewing fire and ash into what might have otherwise been a quiet Monday in London. Although the band and these players are often characterized as working in “improvised music,” or “jazz,” or some other equally insufficient moniker, this music rocks in a way that “Rock” hasn’t in years. The trio’s rhythmic drive drags the listener along face first, at times with flat-out abandon, and at times in lurches and spurts. But overall trajectory for this concert, and this group generally, remains full speed ahead with no time to look back."
Worse For The Wear
"he fifth release by this powerful working trio in as many years shows a band once again not afraid to come out of the gate swinging. As always, these three individual virtuosos combine their unique talents to put forth a churning mix of hard-driving grooves and well-forged power. However, as the band has continued to work and tour together regularly for the past five years, their music continues to find new avenues of expression. On this recording, Worse For The Wear, Ballister’s trademark raw energy is tempered by a mix of introspective soundscapes and moments of quiet beauty that create a listening experience of great complexity. Recorded live in Chicago during the trio’s spring 2014 U.S. Tour, this release shows a band that continues to grow, slowly and patiently, further refining its sound into a tightly structured unit of remarkable depth and richness. credits "
Dave Rempis Solo
"Dave Rempis is a mid-career artist whose deep roots in the Chicago improvised music scene have by now stretched themselves out across the world through his multiple ongoing collaborations. But he waited a long time to put out this first solo recording. Highly aware of the singular statements in this context put forth by artists such as Coleman Hawkins, Eric Dolphy, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, Ab Baars, and Mats Gustafsson to name just a few, left him wary of taking this challenge on too soon. But in the fall of 2016, the time felt right. So he decided to combine the development of a unique solo vocabulary on his instrument into the larger goal of exploring and expanding the crucial network of artists, presenters, and fans that support improvised music in the United States. In the spring of 2017, he brought the idea to fruition by undertaking a massive journey across the country, performing thirty-one solo concerts in twenty-seven different cities, while also collaborating with local artists at each stop. This singular odyssey gave him the opportunity to delve methodically, night after night, into his own process towards solo improvisation. Those labors are documented on Lattice."
"This debut release by the working trio Gunwale matches veteran Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis up with two of the brightest up-and-coming stars from the next generation of Chicago improvisers. While Packard is known mostly for his extensive work as a composer and percussionist within the thriving contemporary classical scene in Chicago, Wildeman has achieved notoriety for his meteoric rise from novice instrumentalist to one of the busiest players around after relocating from the Netherlands in 2011 to immerse himself in this city’s broad-shouldered sound. With these varied backgrounds the two contribute noticeably fresh perspectives to the ever-evolving local artistic dialogue. As a trio, their voice is stark, and clear, combining a love for driving blasts of energy with a sensitivity to the smallest details, leading to music that can be a freight train one moment, and an insectoid microcosm the next. These intuitive abilities make sense when one considers the trio’s rare commitment to several months of weekly rehearsals before their first performance in December of 2015, a tradition they still continue when all three members are in town. So while Polynya may document a band in its early stages, its laser-beam focus leaves no doubt that these three know precisely where they’re headed."
"This debut release by the regular working trio of Dave Rempis, Joshua Abrams, and Avreeayl Ra is a perfect example of what makes Chicago such a fertile breeding ground for improvised music; three musicians of widely varying ages, backgrounds, playing experiences, and musical interests join forces to deliver moments of both sublime beauty and volcanic energy, continually tempered by the seamless narrative momentum that they weave together in a seemingly effortless way. Although the trio has only been working since the fall of 2012, their group dynamic reveals a chemistry that feels much more seasoned than such a short time might allow – perhaps a result of their shared interest in musical experiences that transcend the every day level, and offer something more substantial to the listener. With Abrams doubling on several different string instruments, and Ra on his characteristically wide array of percussion, the music these three create together is wide-ranging in nature, drawing upon influences from around the world to create a sound that’s totally unique within the current milieu of improvised music. credits "
Rempis/Abrams/Ra + Baker
"This sophomore release by the working trio of Dave Rempis, Joshua Abrams, and Avreeayl Ra shows a band doubling down on the slow, patient approach to improvising that characterized their first release, 2014’s Aphelion. The trio continues to pulsate, expanding ever outwards, yet returning to a central core each time to launch their next adventure. The live sets presented on this new two-disc set document that musical expansion and contraction within the trio, but also take things a step further as the band adds enigmatic keyboardist Jim Baker to the fold as a special guest for disc two. Baker’s a logical choice to meet up with these three; his own trio with Abrams and Ra, although a sporadic grouping, dates back to the early aught’s, and he’s worked with both in countless other contexts across many years. Similarly, a multitude of collaborations between he and Rempis date back to the late 1990’s. On Perihelion, these two overlapping circles spiral seamlessly into focus to demonstrate the gravitational strength of a central core built by decades of shared history."
"n the fall of 2013, Rempis and Zerang had just finished a week in Krakow, Poland, working with Ken Vandermark’s Resonance Ensemble. They continued on to perform as a duo at concerts in Warsaw and Vienna, before meeting Harnik in her hometown of Graz, Austria to explore this first-time trio grouping at a well-known concert venue called WIST. Happily, Austrian National Radio (ORF) got wind of the occasion, and decided to make a recording for live broadcast, a document presented here. "
"This live recording finds the collaborative trio of Rempis, Johnston, and Ochs hard at work in the middle of their first full-on North American tour in May of 2015. Documenting a concert from the landmark venue Hallwalls in Buffalo, NY, the trio follows up on their previous release, 2014’s Spectral, having taken their unique approach to spontaneous composition to the next level through the crucible that only touring can provide. On this new recording they tackle two pieces that are significantly more extended than the ones documented on their earlier release, while still employing the same core strategy that made that recording so compelling; an ability to look far down the road in order to anticipate the larger structures that can emerge from even the slightest gesture. The trio moves with patience, and capitalizes on space, waiting for the appropriate moments to strike, always at the service of the ensemble motion. "
"This free-improvising trio came together in the fall of 2011, when Rempis journeyed to the West Coast to discover some things about his compatriots on the Bay Area improving scene. Trumpeter Johnston, a frequent visitor to Chicago, where the two had collaborated in several different settings in the years prior, suggested this trio lineup for a performance at Oakland’s Uptown Nightclub. Although Rempis hadn’t worked with Ochs before, the latter’s renowned experience in the all-horn lineup of ROVA made the idea especially appealing. From the first few notes, that initial meeting flowed comfortably, yet in totally unexpected ways, with all three making logical structural decisions that gave their improvisations the feel of through-composed pieces. Eager to continue developing this language that the three later came to dub “invisible architecture,” Rempis made a follow-up trip to the Bay Area in the spring of 2012 for two more concerts and a studio recording session. Spectral, the first document of their work, was the result of that visit, and shows an improvising trio playing out an audible game of chess. Not satisfied with simply existing in the moment, these three combine sensibilities to look many moves ahead, setting each other up time and again to capitalize on structural possibilities that give rare and meaningful form to an otherwise very spontaneous music."
"In the summer of 2013, guitarist Joe Morris decided to thoroughly acquaint himself with the vibrant Chicago creative music scene. Although he’d worked with plenty of Chicago musicians over the years, including regular collaborations with percussionist Hamid Drake and reedist Ken Vandermark, it had been many years since Morris had spent any significant time in the city. So he undertook a series of concerts, organized by Vandermark, which placed him in a number of different contexts alongside many of his Chicago-based counterparts, including this string-heavy date at Elastic Arts. From the start, this ad-hoc quartet took advantage of an unusual instrumentation to produce some austere and starkly beautiful music. Each member contributes quickly interweaving lines that occasionally burst to the fore, but tend more often to wrap themselves into one other, hiding in plain sight amongst the unified whole. Cloaking their individual timbres into a sinewy mass, the result is a tight and fascinating exploration of contrapuntal improvisation."